FORT WORTH, Texas-Equestrians from 45 states and four Canadian provinces packed the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas, for the 2001 World Championship Paint Horse Show, held June 24 through July 7. They brought nearly 2,000 horses with them to compete in the 166 youth, amateur and open classes offered.
The show, sponsored annually by the American Paint Horse Association, was extended two days this year to accommodate growing interest. Covering 14 days, it was the longest-running APHA World Show to date.
At stake were World Championship titles in Western, English, cattle, driving, speed and halter classes. Also up for grabs were tens of thousands of dollars in prize money in sweepstakes competition in team penning, freestyle reining and bridleless Western pleasure. Big money was also at stake in a challenge series featuring Western pleasure, cutting, hunter under saddle and reining competition.
In all, APHA awarded $100,000 in prize money for the World Show-$25,000 more than last year.
In addition to world-class American Paint Horses exhibited in three different show rings, Paints also took center stage during the two-day World Showcase Sale, held in conjunction with the show. The sale, which drew an overflow crowd of more than 1,300 people each day, included lively bidding during a gelding session, a mare and stallion session, and a yearling session that debuted this year.
The high-seller for the 2001 sale was an American Paint Horse stallion named Grays Spotlight, who sold for $35,000. The high-selling mare, Zippin KT, sold for $30,000, while the top-selling gelding, Colonel Quanah, went for $15,000. The top yearling was Zipper Stripper, a filly who sold for $15,000.
Special World Show activities for youth and amateurs provided additional opportunities for Paint enthusiasts to get together. More than 400 youth representing 4-H clubs, Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapters and regional American Paint Horse youth clubs nationwide participated in the world's largest horse judging contest.
They competed for coveted trophy buckles, plaques and other prizes. A total of 100 teams, consisting of four contestants to a team, judged American Paint Horses during the event.
Young equestrians interested in one day representing the United States in reining competitions around the world moved a step closer to their dream during the show's Young Rider Reining Medal Class. The class was hosted by APHA and the United States Equestrian Team (USET) to help USET test the abilities of individual reiners and identify future international riders.
More than 1,250 youth entries were logged during the World Show, which included a full week of activities for young riders. Junior Paint Horse Club members also participated in a youth team tournament and were entertained with a variety of social events.
The 2001 World Show also hosted the fifth annual Horse & Rider seminar series. The series, which was free to the public, featured top trainers from around the country who helped those in attendance improve their horsemanship skills. Spectators learned how to solve problems commonly associated with training young horses and also gained valuable tips on showing. A free "brown-bag lunch series" was also held daily at the show. Horse health topics, presented by show veterinarian Dr. Joe Stricklin, ranged from helping horses avoid heat stress to how to evaluate a horse before buying one.
With thousands of people attending the World Show, APHA took the opportunity to introduce its "Legacy of Color" bronze project. Sculptor Marrita McMillian of Gainesville, Texas, was on hand throughout the show to display 1/3- and 1/8-lifesize maquettes of the larger-than-life bronze she is creating for the APHA headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. That bronze is expected to be completed in 2002.
Proceeds from the sale of the maquettes will be used to fund APHA's Heritage Foundation. That foundation is dedicated to preserving the history of the American Paint Horse, as well as supporting education and research to benefit American Paint Horses and their owners.
More about APHA and the World Show
The American Paint Horse Association (APHA) has been hosting a World Championship Paint Horse Show since 1989. That year, 866 horses participated. Since that time, APHA has seen an increase of 118 percent in the number of horses involved in World Show competition and a 171 percent increase in entries logged.
The association was founded in 1962. By that year's end, early members had recruited 150 fellow Paint Horse enthusiasts and registered 250 horses. By the end of 2000, APHA had enrolled more than 100,000 members. To date, the association has registered more than 616,000 Paint Horses.
The Fort Worth-based non-profit association employs 165 people and maintains an operating budget of more than $15 million for activities worldwide.
For more information about the World Championship Paint Horse Show, the "Legacy of Color" bronze project, APHA programs, or APHA in general, please call (817) 834-2742, ext. 788, or log on to www.apha.com.